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UK cyber attack shuts down hundreds of UK realtors and lawyers

The hack of legal IT firm CTS has disrupted law firms and real estate agents across the UK – but could the same thing happen in Australia?

user icon David Hollingworth
Tue, 28 Nov 2023
UK cyber attack shuts down hundreds of UK realtors and lawyers
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A UK-managed services provider that works with hundreds of estate agents and law firms has suffered a serious cyber attack, causing a massive shutdown across both industries.

The firm in question, CTS, is still investigating the incident, and many of its services are currently unavailable following the attack, with up to 200 estate agents currently unable to process property sales.

“We are experiencing a service outage which has impacted a portion of the services we deliver to some of our clients,” a CTS spokesperson said on Friday (24 November) afternoon.


“The outage was caused by a cyber incident. We are working closely with a leading global cyber forensics firm to help us with an urgent investigation into the incident and to assist us in service restoration.”

As of writing, that is the last update from the company.

Closer to home, though, the CEO of a similar firm that offers third-party conveyancing services here in Australia is looking at the incident as a wake-up call for the industry.

According to Chris Gibbs, chief executive officer of triSearch, “as the sophistication and scale of cyber attacks increase, a prevention-only response is no longer enough”.

“Businesses should assume a cyber security attack will happen, and by focusing on early detection and response planning, businesses can be more resilient to an attack,” Gibbs said in a statement.

By way of example, Gibbs pointed out comments made by Shameela Gonzalez, a director at Australian security firm CyberCX, to an Australian trade publication.

“In our world, we talk about high-value targets,” Gonzalez told The Australian Conveyancer. “From a conveyancer point of view, one thing a criminal will consider is who are the Australians that are financially better off? What postcode do they live in? What are their mortgages? The property they are buying?”

“That information becomes really lucrative for cyber criminals to then go and exploit an individual or on-sell the information to other criminals.”

According to Gibbs, it all comes down to preparedness.

“The more prepared we are as a business for an attack, the quicker we can bounce back and protect the interests of conveyancers, lawyers, home owners, and buyers,” Gibbs said.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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